Epic Central America, Mexico to Costa Rica, 46 Days
Ever dreamt about tacos, burritos, nachos… maybe tequila? Or maybe you’ve gone off tequila? Time to get back on the tequila boat! This trip as it states in the title is EPIC, with a capital E!!! Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua are calling you, from pristine beaches to volcano to ancient ruins, this trip has it all!
Is this trip for you?
- If you like an adventure then YES!
- This is an organised group tour so perfect for solo travellers or a group of friends
- The age group of this tour is 18-39 year olds
- There will be from 1-16 people on this tour
- The accommodation on this tour will be Camping (with facilities) (1 night), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (36 nights), Overnight bus (2 nights)
- The transport will be Boat, Local bus, Overnight bus
- Transport on tour
- Local guide
- New friends!
What's not included?
- Flights (request a quote)
- Insurance - We can help you with this
Day 1-2 - Mexico City
On the first day we will get to know each other at the pre-departure meeting in the evening. If you arrive early, no probs, just let reception know that you are with us and they will let you know where the meeting is.
On Day 2, you can decide to visit the Teotihuacan ruins… the site of the Pyramids of the Sun and Moon (Or, correctly, ‘Piramides del Sol y de la Luna’… get your dictionary out!)
Day 3-4 – Puebla
The town of Town, or Puebla, has more churches than anything else- you can count 70 in the city centre. But don’t forget the local hand-painted ceramics and some street nosh.
Day 5-7 - Oaxaca - Overnight Bus
When in Me-hee-coh, you cannot really miss Oaxaca.This place is famous for its textiles, Margarita flavours, and markets. One of the best things to do ever is to hang in a café after haggling your socks off. There is also the cultural side to this city at Monte Alban in the form of Zapotec ruins. Tonight we get on an overnight bus to San Cristobal de las Casas.
Day 8-9 - San Cristobal de las Casas
Ask your medical friends if they can suture wounds with human hair… no? Didn’t think so. But the Mayans could! We arrive here early in the morning so we take in some markets and churches before tucking in to possibly the best taco in Mexico (you will question your life’s existence by the end of your trip because you will love tacos so much). There are some tribal villages in the outskirts of town, so you can get in touch with some traditional roots and customs. You could even explore them by horseback if you dare to try. There is an optional day trip to Sumidero Canyon.
Day 10-11 - Palenque - Overnight Bus
It is a windy road to Pelenque on a local bus, but that’s all part of the experience. There is a free afternoon in it for you, so listen up: take a dip at the Agua Azul and Misol-Ha waterfalls or explore the Palenque ruins with a local guide. On the last day here we get on another local bus and head for Merida.
Day 12-13 – Merida
The base of almost every Mexican dish is made of corn tortillas. The reason for this is that Mexicans love corn. No, really, like they love it, it’s no wonder then that at Merida you can find corn on the cob on every street corner here, what taste do you fancy? Chilli, cheese, lemon juice, mayo, or just salt? Take your pick or try them all!
Things to do here include hanging out at Plaza Grande, which has some impressive old architecture surrounding it. Visit the outdoors market (this should be done in the morning). Hammocks here are very well made so you should buy at least one. There are some head combusting spicy el vucateco for you to try or maybe cochinita pibil might suit you better? The Mayan ruins of Uxmal are also nearby and you will get the chance to go there as well.
Day 14-15 - Chichen Itza - Playa del Carmen
Chichen Itza is famed the world over, and no wonder. It is a massive pyramid - the famous steps (365, one for each day of the year) and the shadow like a serpent is sure to impress. Afterwards, we head to Playa del Carmen, where you are bound to have a good party. Fabulous chilled out vibes here and of course the beautiful Caribbean waters will feel fabulous on your skin.
Day 16-17 – Tulum
Tulum is pretty epic. Ruins that hug a cliff-top overlooking a pristine beach? Yes thank you! We definitely recommend taking the optional trip. It is going to be your Facebook cover page for ages!
- Enjoy the coastal bus ride to Tulum
- (Optional) Visit city ruins from the pre-Columbian era
- Try and get the best picture ever of the seashore from atop the cliff
- Explore the Temple of the Frescoes
- Beach time!! Bring your towel and sunscreen only because you will want a little walk along the fabulous beach
- Experience the chilled out vibe of beachfront nightlife with a margarita in hand, or try to find the best mojito in town!
Day 18-19 - Caye Caulker
We enter Belize via land, but we are going to catch some waves by boat as we head out to Caye Caulker. Yes, every dream you have had of islands and clear blue waters comes true here. Oh and Caye Caulker is only home to the second biggest barrier reef in the world so expect to do some snorkelling.
- We are getting the local bus to Belize so we will have to make a couple of changes as it will not be a direct bus, but it’s well worth the effort for 8 hours travel.
Day 20-21 - San Ignacio
We catch the local bus to San Ignacio, but pass through the Belizean capital of Belmopan. This quick pit stop means you can visit the Mayan ceremonial centre of Xunantunich, or if you are not faint of heart then head to the caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal where you wade through water in search of crystalised skeletons…shiver but oh so cool. There is also tubing and canoeing through this beautiful, lush region. If insects are your thing, there’s also a butterfly garden. If you like, take a boat to Xunantunich (yes another place you can’t pronounce until you learn it from the locals) to visit another ancient Mayan centre- seriously you cannot get enough of the amazing views. The best thing about the local food is the barbecue street stalls - experience road side eating in Central America!
- There is an optional day trip to the Mountain Pine Ridge area where there are waterfalls, swimming holes (THAT ARE WARM!), and the caving system where you can find Tunichil Muknal.
Day 22-23 - Flores – Tikal
We now tick another country off the list and get to start off by camping in Tikal National Park (don’t worry- camping equipment is on us!)
Remember the movie Apocalypto? Yeah, me neither, but everyone says the Tikal ruins looks like that. Maybe watch the movie in preparation for the trip (hard work I know!) Dense jungle vegetation got its reputation here, so make sure you have got the right walking boots. There is also a chance to climb to the peak of Temple IV for some more amazing jungle views from a high.
Day 24-25 - Rio Dulce
We reach ‘Sweet River’, or Rio Dulce, by bus. Now, the moment we have all been waiting for… manatee-spotting (YAAAA!!!!), hot springs, the San Felipe fort, boating…This laid back town has got a bit of a different vibe from places we are heading further inland so soak up the Caribbean vibes! You can also check out the Chocon-Machacas Natural Reserve, which is actually a really nice hike.
Day 26 – Antigua
Antiguaaaa, what a place! Sadly this is just an overnight stop but have no fear, for you shall be back! It will take us about 7 hours to get to Antigua where we spend the night before heading over to Panajachel. There will be enough time to take a little stroll around the centre and taste Tamales. You cannot go to Guatemala and not have had this world-famous dish (served in a corn leaf). There is Pepian to try for the meat lovers, which is a mixture of 3 meats- pork, beef, and chicken- served in a dark sauce.
Day 27 - Chichicastenango - San Jorge La Laguna
Dinner is included today - Happy days, and the best part? You get to eat with a Guatemalan family. Meals will not be extravagant, but you get to taste the local cuisine whilst you have the time of your life experiencing Guatemalan family life. Also keep in mind that your homestay might be very simple and basic: A bed, clean bedding, and a shared bathroom with the family.
- Make sure you head to the famous Chichicastenango market. Be adventurous and try the local bus.
- There is San Pedro La Laguna about an hour and a half away, a gorgeous little lakeside town to explore
Day 28 – Panajachel
You wake up this morning to breakfast provided by your host family. We head over to Panajachel town where you can do lots of exciting activities such as wind surfing, paragliding, kayaking, horse riding, and hiking. There is a community cooperative you can visit, a great way to witness what it means for people to work together towards a common good. Take a boat out to nearby villages for a taste of true village life here in the heart of Guatemala.
Day 29-30 – Antigua
From Antigua you can see not one, not two, but three smoking volcanoes. Even so, Antigua is not quite like any other place you have been.The city is listed as a World Heritage town. If you want, you can try and scale one of the volcanoes. Take some time to get lost on the romantic streets of Antigua.
Day 31 – Copan
The ancient Mayan ruins of Copan were discovered way back when in 1570, and will be some of the best pre-Columbian artwork you’ll probably ever see in your life. A lot of people think that this is actually a better experience then Chichen Itza, so, you know, you’re welcome. Oh by the way, Copan is in the Honduras, there are some wonderful hot springs to relax in.
Day 32-33 – Suchitoto
Spend the morning taking in a bit more of Copan, because further south than this you will not be enjoying Mayan ruins and wonders listed on the World Heritage Site database. We still don’t know how they so mysteriously disappeared - maybe you will figure out the answer?
We cross the border in to El Salvador and it will take six hours to reach Suchitoto. Colonial, colourful, and beautiful, you will feel like you are walking in history rather than just observing. Here you have a free day to take part in all the crazy activities we can find in the area. The town actually looks over Lago Suchitlan, or a freshwater lake that is frequented by falcons and hawks migrating. You can get aqua-rious (haha, punny right?) by boat or kayak, or you can hike through the Cinquera rainforest. There are some more Mayan ruins for you to take in at Cihuatan, or if you prefer there is also the Guazapa volcano… we cannot actually confirm whether or not its active, and scientists cannot neither.
Day 34 - El Tunco
Heading further south, we literally breeze through San Salvador for better waves, or the surf village of El Tunco. Because who doesn’t love a good surf village with a laid back vibe and chillaxed attitude? There are some great restaurants to try local delicacies such pas pupusas (traditional corn pockets stuffed with pork, cheese, and refried beans).
Day 35-36 - El Cuco
We go eastwards today for the coastal town of El Cuco. Dark sand beaches put this place on the map, and again, it’s time to get that surfboard out here. Playa Las Flores is actually one of the best surfing hot spots. El Salvador’s first microbrewery also resides here at Intipuca Beach… it’s pretty darn cool. Here we also get to stay in an eco-resort. It will give you an insight into how amazing it really is to adapt a greener lifestyle and how to truly live in harmony with local wildlife.
If surfing isn’t your thing, you can kayak here in the mangrove, or head to Conchagua Volcano nearby. There is also an opportunity to take a boat out to the ocean (sea-sickness alert!). Or, really get in touch with your inner self and take a yoga class at the resort.
Day 37-38 – Granada
No, you’re not in Spain, but you’re in Nicaragua! You get a whole day in Granada to explore recommended stuff to do includes heading out to Lake Nicaragua or visiting the national parks nearby like Mombacho or Masaya Volcano National Parks. To travel from Comayagua it will be a full day of travel again, from bus to taxi to bus… make sure you bring a good book! A night on a town is probably on the cards here too! Fun fact: Founded in 1524, Granada is actually the big daddy, or oldest city of the ‘New World’ that was found at the time.
- Highly recommended: check out the cobblestone streets of the city, or actually, head to the ‘islets’ that exist on Lake Nicaragua!
Day 39-40 - Ometepe Island
Another day, another bus and boat. We’re heading to the island of Ometepe, which is on Lake Nicaragua. Compare volcanoes from Anitgua with the one here… whaddaya say?? Fun fact: Lake Nicaragua is the largest fresh water lake in Central America, and even tenth largest in the world. There are also capuchin monkeys on Monkey Island. This island is largely agricultural so make sure you try the local food, it will not come fresher than this! If you haven’t tired of beaches yet, go sit on the beach by the lake - nice and calm and relaxing!
Day 41-42 – Monteverde
WELCOME TO COSTA RICA!!! The big daddy of activities here is the Sky Walk- suspension bridges hanging 40m above the jungle, making you essentially walk through the clouds. Sounds pretty cool, I know! Get active and hike a mountain. Definitely do some bird watching here, it’s going to be even better than Hyde Park, London.
Day 43-44 - La Fortuna – Arenal
Activities here are aplenty. You will not know where to start. Costa Rica is known for its amazing adventure activities, and this is the place to do it. Riding a sky tram, zip-lining, mountain biking, kayaking, bungee jumping, swimming, paddleboarding, whitewater rafting… excuse me while I rehydrate! Actually, before I go, just make sure you head to La Catarata de Fortuna for some amazing waterfalls.
Day 45-46 - San Jose
Today we take our last local bus of the trip and it’s down to San Jose. For a walk around town, start at the main plaza and from there, check out beautiful people in a beautiful city. There is a Gold Museum (if you skipped out on some culture before, here’s your last chance to get in touch with the cultural side of you!)
If you need last minute shopping to be done, head to Plaza de la Cultura to get handicrafts, or get your last taste of Central American seafood!
Our trip ends on day 46 so nothing is planned. Make sure you remember to say goodbye to your friends before you make any plans for the day!